Storm season is once again upon us, putting our neighbors living in coastal areas from the Gulf South to the Atlantic coast on alert for potential rough weather. Being prepared for what Mother Nature may dish out is wise for anyone who may be in the path of a hurricane, especially during the months of August through October when these storms are most prevalent.
Hurricane Season is Here
Hurricane Season in the Atlantic basin takes place officially between June 1 through November 30 with the peak time for storms occurring around September 10. The primary factor leading to hurricanes is the natural rising of sea surface temperatures. The warmer the temps, the more moisture or fuel for the storm. Hurricanes form when warm moist air over water begins to rise and the rising air is replaced by cooler air. As this process continues, it grows large clouds and thunderstorms, which begin to rotate counterclockwise around the center (or the eye) faster and faster depending upon the water temperature and how long the storm remains out over open water to build strength. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, weather conditions such as La Niña in the Pacific, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, active west African Monsoons and above-normal Atlantic sea-surface temperatures set the stage for the more active hurricane seasons we have seen in recent years.
Basic Storm Prep for Your Outdoor Living Space
Belgard knows your home and outdoor living space is a significant investment and treasured place to spend time with family and friends. Taking some time to prepare prior to a storm can go a long way toward minimizing risk to your home and protecting your entire outdoor area, from your hardscapes and appliances to your accessories and landscaping. Here are some tips.
Thinking Ahead: Actions to Take Prior to Storm Season
- Trim trees and clear any dead limbs and branches near your home and outdoor living space. Being proactive can prevent these parts of the tree from falling during the storm and damaging your structure.
- Cushions on outdoor furniture can get blown away never to be seen again. Consider purchasing containers to store them in the event of a hurricane. Even if you choose to forego containers, be sure to bring your cushions inside during a storm.
- If you don’t have polymeric sand in your paver joints, consider a polymer binding sealer from Techniseal. This fantastic product will help keep powerful rains from washing the sand out of your joints.
- Be sure to clear gutters and downspouts to make sure you have a better path for water to drain away from your roof and house.
- Small trees or some foliage like banana plants that you planted in the spring may lack strong enough root systems to anchor them during a driving storm. Securing these plants by tying them to stakes can help keep them from being toppled by high winds. Anchor these using two- to three-foot stakes angled away from the plant and then pounded about 20 inches into the ground. Secure the plant to the stakes with twine. In addition, plant covers are also an option. Not only do they protect from the battering winds and rain, but you can use them later in the winter season to prevent plants from freezing.
Storm Alert: Preparation When You’re in the Storm’s Path
The most important step you can take outdoors when you are in the path of a storm is to secure items in and around your yard. Outdoor deck items can not only be damaged during a storm, but even worse, could become dangerous projectiles that can break windows, damage your home or injure a family member.
- Consider anything that may blow away in strong winds and be sure to secure it or pick it up. These items include: tables, trampolines, bikes, toys, decorative lawn art, grills, propane tanks, trash cans, etc. Make room in your shed or garage for these items, or even consider bringing some of them inside the house.
- Be sure that any outdoor shade umbrellas are closed and tied. If you can move them into your shed or garage, do so.
- If you have a pool, you may be tempted to cover it, which could actually accumulate an inordinate amount of water causing the covering to sink or become very hard to move after the storm. If your pool is properly equipped with adequate drains and skimmers and the surrounding area is properly drained, the water level can be left as it is. In cases when surrounding structures might be damaged by the water before it can run off naturally, experts recommend lowering the pool’s water level by one to two feet. If you are unable to lower the water using the pool drain, it can be easily done with a drain pump.
- Some pool owners use the “trick” of tossing patio furniture into the pool to anchor it down when strong winds strike. Unless you absolutely do not have room to store your furniture inside your home, garage, or shed, pool service experts recommend against this practice since your furniture can easily rust or damage the bottom of your pool.